The buzz was back in the heart of Patchogue Village on Wednesday, where community leaders and dignitaries gathering to celebrate Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts’ grand reopening.
The historic theater, which first opened on Main Street in 1923, had been closed since Jan. 4 for a three-month interior renovation.
It was its first major overhaul since the village acquired the theater in 1997.
“To new beginnings and a brighter future,” Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri said during a toast in the theater’s spacious lobby. “And to a hundred more years!”
Also in attendance for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting was former Patchogue mayor Steve Keegan, who served from 1996 to 2000, during which time the village was able to purchase the building with the help of three local businesspeople.
Those who spoke were quick to recognize Keegan for his efforts.
“We all know that back in ’95, ’96, Main Street was not in the best of places, and Mayor Keegan had the foresight to reopen the theater,” said County Legislator Rob Calarco, a village resident. “[The theater] has been the hallmark of what helped make the revitalization start, and that has continued through the work of Mayor Pontieri and this whole board.”
For his part, Keegan thanked the men who helped finance the then-beleaguered village’s big purchase.
“A long time ago, three business people in this community had faith in the Village of Patchogue and came up with $535,000; Rick Rose, Bill Knapp and Artie Fuccillo loaned the village $535,000 for us to be able to buy this place and start the renovations,” he said. “They deserves a big round of applause.”
The recent, $1 million+ renovation saw the theater’s ceiling repaired and repainted, new flooring installed, its chandelier and surrounding artwork detailed, and new and wider seats put in, as well as many technical upgrades to the sound system and more, said Christopher Capobianco, who gave tours Wednesday.
Capobianco, who directs the theater’s Live in the Lobby series, also pointed out the new exit signs were made to match the original font of the theater’s first opening in 1923.
The first show at the newly renovated theater, the 7th Annual Patchogue Folk Festival, is this Saturday at 8 p.m.
more photos below
Top photo: Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri cuts the ribbon Wednesday outside the theater as former mayor Steve Keegan looks on from behind, to the mayor’s right. (Michael White)